Without a warts-and-all depiction of the odious frog and his subsequent transformation into a handsome prince, the fairy...

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PRINCESS ZELDA AND THE FROG

Dog meets frog in this amusing retelling of “The Frog Prince,” which uses photographs of costumed English bulldogs against computer-generated backgrounds to illustrate the fairy tale.

In this version, Princess Zelda is the pampered princess pooch, dressed in brocade ball gowns and jewels as she plays with her favorite golden ball. When her ball lands in a mud puddle, a helpful frog (actually another bulldog in a frog costume) appears with a promise to rescue the ball if Princess Zelda takes the frog into her life as her BFF (best friend forever). The plot follows that of the familiar story, with the frog sharing the food and pillow of the disgusted princess. After a peaceful night’s sleep next to each other on a golden pillow, the frog reverts to a dog and Zelda changes her mind, declaring that she and the handsome canine prince were meant to be together always. The story is told with a contemporary flavor, using abbreviations and expressions that don’t quite match up with the lavish, Renaissance-style costumes. The depictions of the frog prince are a drawback, because the dog in a frog costume doesn’t clearly show that the dog has been changed into a frog by a magic spell.

Without a warts-and-all depiction of the odious frog and his subsequent transformation into a handsome prince, the fairy tale loses its bite. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-60325-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.

PIG THE TOURIST

From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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